The fourth week of the 2011 Nevada Legislature was dominated by talk of education cuts and reforms, two initiatives that would appear to be at odds with one another.
Several hundred University of Nevada, Reno students and faculty protested Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed funding reductions to higher education on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Carson City introduced several bills directed at improving public education in the state and moved forward legislation that would give schools greater leeway in spending bond reserve money on construction costs.
Other reforms proposed this week seek to tighten election laws, including new regulations on political action committees and campaign finance disclosures, while legislation aimed at strengthening the state’s open meeting law by levying fines on violators received its first major hearing.
taken this week
AB183: Revises provisions regarding the establishment and maintenance of a reserve account for payment of the outstanding bonds of a school district.
Pushed by Democrats and passed on a party-line vote in the Assembly on Thursday, this bill would give school districts the flexibility to use more money tied up in bond reserves for construction and maintenance projects.
Gov. Brian Sandoval had proposed using $425 million in bond reserves to support operating costs.
AB222: Creates the Teachers and Leaders Council of Nevada.
This bill would prescribe the membership and duties of the council, which will be charged with making recommendations to the State Board of Education about developing a merit-based pay structure and a performance-evaluation system for teachers.
Introduced on Tuesday and referred to concurrent Committees on Education and Ways and Means.
AB225: Requires an additional probationary period for certain teachers and administrators.
This bill would require certain teachers and administrators who receive unsatisfactory evaluations to serve an additional probationary period.
Introduced on Wednesday and referred to the Committee on Education.
SB208: Creates the Task Force on Employee Misclassification.
As previously reported in the Sparks Tribune, Senate bill 208 proposes the creation of a task force to regulate penalties and review audits of employers suspected of misclassifying workers as independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay health care benefits and other supplemental wages.
Introduced on Tuesday and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy.